• Daily Aliya for Ekev, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe recounts how after the Golden Calf debacle, G‑d commanded him to carve two new tablets upon which G‑d engraved the Ten Commandments, to replace the first set of tablets which Moshe had shattered. At that time, G‑d also designated the Levites to be His holy servants, because of the devotion they demonstrated throughout the Golden Calf incident.

    G-d forgave the Jews for the Golden Calf “at that time” (after forty days), and only then began the process of inscribing the second tablets. The term “at that time” seems superfluous, which needs to be explained. Beyond that, though: What took forty days? If G-d was willing to forgive the Jews for their sin, why did He wait forty days to do so? The answer to both could add an important outline for dealing with mistakes and with pain associated with those mistakes. Often time helps us process outlying events in our lives, and is an important part of the healing process. Time heals not only physical wounds, but emotional wounds as well, and both are quite often a necessary part of life.

  • Dvar for Ekev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

    Parshat Ekev introduced us to the popular phrase “Man does not live by bread alone” (8:3). However, end of that verse is far less famous, although the second part contains the true message. It reads, “Rather, by everything that emanates from the mouth of G-d does man live.” If the point is that G-d’s emanations are the source of our lives, why use bread as the subject, when bread only becomes edible through the toils of man? Wouldn’t fruits be a better example of G-d’s influence on the world?

    I heard Rabbi Greenberg and saw Rav Hirsch explain that bread is used as the subject because it exemplifies the toils of man, and that the message here is that even when you toil for the bread you eat, don’t forget that Hashem (G-d) has toiled for everything that we have, and His goal is not just to sustain us, but to help us live physically AND spiritually. Man should not only seek physical nourishment from the work of his hands, but should seek spiritual nourishment from the word of his G-d.

  • Daily Aliya for Ekev, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe tells the Israelites that they will inherit the Land of Israel not due to their own merits and righteousness, but because of the promise G‑d made to the Patriarchs. In fact, Moshe reminds them of the many times they angered G‑d while in the desert, placing special emphasis on the sin of the Golden Calf, when G‑d would have annihilated the Israelites if not for Moshe’s successful intercession on their behalf. He also makes brief reference to the other times when the Israelites rebelled against G‑d.

    Modesty and self-confidence is a very sensitive balance, a struggle we deal with internally, as well as with our children. In order to conquer challenges in life, one must be confident in their ability. To that end, thinking that the results are owed to us can only lead to complacency, a lack of appreciation for what we have, which could potentially lead to squandering what we had. This Aliya helps the people realize that what we have was given to us, and although we continually have to work to maintain it, the acquisition required G-d’s help and forgiveness, and thus we are indebted. The purpose of this Aliya is to help us maintain the proper perspective in life, not by reminding us of our mistakes, but by reminding us of G-d’s absolution from those mistakes.

  • Daily Aliya for Ekev, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe admonishes the Israelites that the new-found fortune which will be their lot once they enter the Promised Land should not lead them to forget the One who provided them with the wealth. Such a blunder would lead to their destruction and ruin.

    The warning against getting caught up in wealth and success (verse 15) describes how one might forget the snakes, vipers, scorpions and drought that was solved by having water flow out of a rock, all items that have a strikingly earthy denominator. The very next Passuk reminds us of the Mann that fell from the sky, a stark contrast to the previous earthy items. But the Jews didn’t have the Mann fall on them as they looked up to the sky, the Mann waited for them when they woke up. Why? It could be that the Mann was the ultimate bridge between the earthy elements and the source from which they came, so we’d need to see the Mann on the ground and realize that it came from above. If we realized that our wealth and sustenance came from G-d, then we’d realize that the snakes, challenges and troubles came from G-d as well, and are there to help strengthen and empower us to succeed in life.

  • Daily Aliya for Ekev, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: Moshe continues his pep talk to the Israelites, cautioning them not to fear the Canaanite armies for G‑d will wage battle for them. He also notifies them that their entry into the Land is not due to their own virtues – Moshe reminds them of their many transgressions to emphasize this point – but rather, it is in the merit of the nation’s Forefathers. The commandments of prayer and bentching (Grace After Meals) are mentioned. The second part of the Shema is also found in this portion.

    This Aliya begins with a promise: if the Israelites observe G‑d’s commandments, they will be blessed in a multitude of ways, including the obliteration of their Canaanite enemies. Moshe enjoins the Israelites not to fear these enemies, for G‑d will miraculously deliver them into their hands. Moshe instructs the Israelites to destroy all the idols and their accouterments which they will find in Canaan. Moshe then discusses their forty-year desert ordeal, and the many tests and miracles which accompanied them. Moshe provides a description of many of the wonderful features of the Land of Israel, and the Israelites are commanded to bless G‑d after they eat and are sated.

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